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Southern Roasted Turkey

This is my mom's recipe for Christmas turkey. It was always juicy and flavorful.

  • 1 (14 to 18 Lb.) turkey, thawed completely
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces, chilled
  • Prepared stuffing of choice
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 large roasting pan with cover
  • 1 basting tool
  • 1 clean, new, linen dishcloth (large enough to cover the turkey breast)
  • Oil or melted fat




Preheat oven to 325°F.

Before stuffing, work fingers under skin next to the cavity of bird. Working carefully, to not tear skin, loosen all breast skin.

Distribute pieces of butter under skin all over breast area. Stuff turkey, filling well, but not packed, or stuffing will not reach internal temperature for safe eating. Stuffing expands when cooked. Truss turkey

(Put leftover dressing in a pan, saturate with chicken or turkey broth, cover. When turkey has finished cooking and is resting, bake dressing for 35 minutes, removing cover for the last 10 minutes if you desire a crunchy top.)

Put turkey, breast up, in roaster pan with a lid.

Pour about 1/2 cup oil, soak a linen cloth in oil until saturated. (Note: terry cloth or other will not work because it will leave woolly fabric on the bird and/or will come apart. You must use linen.)

Meanwhile, pour remaining oil over turkey breast to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Salt will make skin crunchy.

Wring out linen cloth, and place over turkey, covering breast area. Cover pan with lid and place in a preheated 325° F oven. Note: if the lid of your roaster is unable to fit tightly down on the roaster, take two or three sheets of foil and make a tent, sealing the mid-seam tightly, and sealing the edges tightly around the pan.

Baste turkey once an hour, being sure to saturate linen towel on breast area. Remove cloth 45 minutes before end of cooking. (Remove slowly to not tear skin.) Discard cloth and cook, uncovered 45 minutes.

A stuffed bird of this size will take about 5 3/4 hours to cook.

When done, remove from oven, loosely cover with lid or foil and let stand, undisturbed, for 15 minutes before slicing. Doing this will help insure a juicier bird because as the surface of the bird slowly cools, the juices will retreat back into the meat. Cutting too soon, releases the juices into the pan.

Variation: Cliff's Bacon-basted Turkey
Prepare turkey as above, but omit butter and linen cloth. Instead, after skin has been loosened, take rashers of bacon, and insert carefully under skin covering entire breast area. Cook turkey, covered, as above, basting each hour, and uncovering for the last 45 minutes. Let stand, as above, before cutting.

Prior to making your gravy, you may wish to skim off the excess bacon fat from the pan drippings.

Serves: 8 - 10

recipe from www.inmamaskitchen.com

Contributor: Cliff Lowe

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